Profile: Remy Ossard, Edelman Worldwide: The man who builds empires - Edelman’s European president Remy Ossard sees a future full of possibilities

Remy Ossard, Edelman PR Worldwide’s newly appointed European president, should be feeling a little bewildered. In the last two weeks he has left the Paris agency he devoted 11 years of his life to building, he has said goodbye to his colleagues in France and travelled to the UK to meet his new ones, to Portugal to spend time with his wife and two teenage daughters, and to heaven and back, several times, over his national team’s World Cup win.

Remy Ossard, Edelman PR Worldwide’s newly appointed European

president, should be feeling a little bewildered. In the last two weeks

he has left the Paris agency he devoted 11 years of his life to

building, he has said goodbye to his colleagues in France and travelled

to the UK to meet his new ones, to Portugal to spend time with his wife

and two teenage daughters, and to heaven and back, several times, over

his national team’s World Cup win.



In fact, during a brief lull in his schedule, perched on a leather sofa

in Edelman’s London offices, Ossard describes himself as feeling

’quiet’.



’It’s like when you have new batteries,’ he says.



Bernard Emsellem has worked with Ossard for three years and will replace

him as president of France’s largest corporate communications agency,

BDDP Corporate. He says Ossard almost never loses his temper: ’He is

serene, and he likes to get things done early.’



Exceptionally for someone who has worked in advertising and PR, Ossard

has remained very loyal to his employers. He spent 12 years with

advertising agency RSCG, where he first worked in advertising and then

launched the Paris office of its PR and integrated communications arm,

Creative Business.



He joined advertising and PR company BDDP Group in 1988, and remained

there until last week.



He is even loyal to his ex-clients. While at RSCG he represented

textile-turned-menswear manufacturer Ermenegildo Zegna. As if to prove

it, he proudly reveals the Zegna name stitched to the inner pocket of

his suit jacket.



Ossard is widely respected in France for having created the country’s

strongest corporate communications outfit. In 1988 he was lured by BDDP

to head a small corporate PR agency, CPM Consultants.



In 1991, CPM merged with the 100-strong in-house PR arm of state

electricity company Electricite de France, to create Compagnie

Corporate, the country’s largest PR agency. Then, last year, BDDP merged

six subsidiary companies, offering services as diverse as advertising,

design, PR and internal communications, to form a single corporate

division. The move was a fulfilment of Ossard’s long-term ambition to

create an integrated corporate communications company.



Ossard’s vision of integrated communications has been a model for

similar reorganisations at other French PR and advertising groups, such

as DDB and Publicis.



’Remy has developed the discipline of corporate communications, he has

given it its place in the communications mix in France,’ says

Emsellem.



Ossard has some experience of running an international network. Until

its parent ran into financial trouble, BDDP Corporate owned a network of

agencies around Europe, including Financial Dynamics in London, which

was sold back to its managers earlier this year.



But his job at Edelman will be far more demanding in terms of

travel.



Based in Paris, he will spend up to two-thirds of the year visiting

Edelman’s other European offices and its New York headquarters.



He is used to stress. In 1996, after years of financial difficulty, BDDP

effected a reverse take-over into advertising group GGT. BDDP had not

wanted to be swallowed up by a larger group. But this year, it had to

give up the fight for independence and became part of marketing services

giant Omnicom.



According to friends, Ossard is a man who prefers to enjoy life than

worry about it. He is passionate about his native region of France, the

Perigord, which is famed for its goose liver pate, or foie gras. For

years Ossard and his wife Sophie have run a cottage foie gras industry.

They have it manufactured in the Perigord, according to Ossard’s own

recipe, and give tins of the delicacy to their friends on other special

occasions.



Ossard is particularly positive about his reasons for joining Edelman.

He says: ’I realised when I did my CV for this job that I had joined

RSCG and BDDP when there were lots of possibilities, and I realise it is

possible to do a lot of very interesting things in Edelman.’



HIGHLIGHTS



1979



Founding partner, Creative Business



1988



Joint managing director, CPM Consultants



1994



President and managing director, BDDP Corporate,



1998



European president Edelman Worldwide.



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